Breastfeeding Grace (Baby #1)
Anyone else out there struggling with breastfeeding? You are NOT ALONE!
As you've now learned, Grace's entrance didn’t go exactly as planned and breastfeeding started the same way unfortunately. My body was in shock after surgery and as I was shaking uncontrollably, they placed her in my arms and told me to try to feed her. Yep, I felt the same way! What?!
I believe 2 things made this so hard for us:
She just wasn’t ready to come out and we forced her to. Straight up, not ready for this world yet.
I had no idea what I was doing and every nurse that came in had something different to share; leaving me feeling overwhelmed and disappointed.
I REALLY wanted to breastfeed and one thing I learned quickly that helped me achieve this goal was that IT WAS GOING TO TAKE TIME. I promised myself to give it a month and I would highly recommend this to anyone who really has their heart set on it. For most of us, it ain't easy and if you let yourself, you will definitely stop before you get over the hump.
We were told to pump and drip it in her mouth with a dropper, hold her head on the nipple until she got angry, hold her arms down so she wouldn’t flail, etc. and it all just pissed this little warrior princess off! Not saying these things won't work, but for her personality, it was just too much.
As her weight started to drop more than expected I got worried even more, but these 2 tidbits really helped:
Don’t hold her down. Let her move and just keep her close so she knows you are there to comfort and feed, but not control. She's still very much like this!
Use a nipple shield! And squeeze some out (pump if needed) to get the juices flowing and have some milk ready to go in the shield for them to latch on to. Saved me from a lot of pain and let my flatter nipples give her something to hold onto.
Grace took an hour to eat for the first 6 months of life, which left me with about an hour and a half to live not feeding. I felt trapped a lot, but I kept at it and tried to enjoy the time watching shows I liked or admiring her when she was calm and relaxed. We often had to put cold towels on her feet to wake her up even, but we made it work and were stronger on the other side. We did have to supplement with formula when I went back to work because I couldn’t get much just pumping all day and you know what, SHE WAS FINE! She got some breastmilk and some formula and I had to be ok with it!
It wasn’t the perfect experience I had created in my mind beforehand, but it was perfect for her and we all thrived in the end. She got chunky, ate faster and still eats all the time to this day, haha!
How about those next babies, you ask? Savannah and Julianne both came out on their own and were ready to eat! I also was way more confident and that made a huge difference. You got this, mama!